From a Wall Street Journal article on Gmail’s oft-confused email-advertisement system, which scans your messages for certain keywords, and tries to find an appropriately corresponding ad:
Rashmi Kashyap was emailing with a friend recently, using Google Inc.’s Gmail service when she noticed a strange advertisement alongside their messages: It was a link for www.bonniesplants.com, which was selling “Lily and Lotus Pond Plants.”
Ms. Kashyap, a New York-based health-care consultant, was aware that Google’s computers automatically scan the content of Gmail users’ emails and try to serve up relevant text ads. But this ad was hardly a good match. What Google’s system had picked up on, apparently, was a reference in one of her messages to Lily Allen, a British pop singer.
We knew we weren’t the only ones finding bizarre ads tagged to our back-and-forth rock rants! We emailed ourselves with some random keywords, and here’s what we got back:
“Color Me Badd” = Fix Your Bad Credit Now
“Danzig” = Vote For Glenn Burkett
“The Shins” = Red Hot or Ice Cold? (personality test)
You don’t want to even know what happened when we put in “Sexual Chocolate.”